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Volunteering with Teens: Guest Post

Thanks to Sara from Nanny Pro for her guest post on volunteering with teens who have mental illness. Take it away, Sara! 
 Volunteering and Teens with Mental Illness 
When you consider volunteering, most people think of the local soup kitchen or the animal shelter. These are the more common ways to give back in your community—feeding the hungry or assisting helpless animals. But those seeking more of a challenge should try volunteering with teens, particularly teens with mental illness. Mental illness is a growing problem for today’s teens and there are many different organizations around the world to help them through this time. 
Everyone knows that teens can be a tough group. Babies and children are innocent, fun, and sweet…the elderly are wise, calm, and full of wonderful stories…but teens needing the most help are the ones that don’t want it or don’t think they need it. You remember your teenage years–you and your friends were wanna-be rebels who thought you knew everything
There are several organizations across the United States that help teens, but few help youth with emotional and mental problems. Mental illness has always carried a negative social stigma, partly because it’s not a physical problem that you can see. 
Teens with mental illness are those that pose possible harm to themselves or to others. Teens with mental illnesses like bipolar or major depressive disorders may exhibit frightening behaviors like suicidal and homicidal threats or attempts, self-harm, stealing, and drug use. 
Throw a life raft to these teens! 
You can help these teens by volunteering your time at special centers dedicated to aiding them in their journeys. Teens need a positive adult to look up to, so join them for an activity like:
 • Baking and cooking 
 • Arts and crafts 
 • Career fairs 
 • Talking and advising 
 • Writing exercises 
 • Physical activity like tossing a ball 
Working with troubled teens isn’t for everyone. It’s only for those looking to make a difference in a teen’s life by acting in a mature, friendly, and positive manner. Subject matters may come up that can be very uncomfortable and one needs to be able to figure out how to respond and handle these kind of conversations. 
For more information on where and how you can help out teens with issues, check with your local teen programs and/or visit the National Alliance of Mental Illness
Author Bio 
Sara is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor to Nanny Pro
Thank you, Sara! As a psychologist, I agree that teen mental illness is on the rise. Students arrive to college with more psychopathology and prescription psychotropic medication than ever before. While volunteering with this age group might be a challenge, it can also be so fun! So get your inner snark on and join in this vibrant, clever group.
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Out of the Darkness

Authors Justine Dell and Sarah Fine have hosted a week of giveaways and fundraisers in celebration of Suicide Prevention!

Click HERE

Today from 11-6 is the Out of the Darkness Auction HERE where you can bid on some amazing critiques and prize packs.

As a psychologist, I often check in with my clients about suicidal thoughts and urges. Obviously it’s frightening when a loved one contemplates suicide. Individuals suffering from clinical depression, addictions, or other mental disorders may get into a dark place and feel hopeless about ever escaping the pain. When they get so down, they fail to realize emotions are temporary and they WILL feel better.

If you have a loved one who is deeply depressed, it’s okay to ask if he or she is thinking about suicide. You can’t turn somebody suicidal by asking about it. Danger increases if your loved one has a suicidal plan and clear intent to carry out the plan. Better safe than sorry–CALL 911 if you fear for your loved one’s life.

In my young adult swimming romance Streamline, 17 year-old Leo Scott enters a hopeless place when considering his future, dominated by his abusive father.

Leo popped the cap off the bottle with his thumb and slowly
poured its contents into his palm, mesmerized by the cascading
shower of little white pills.

Oxycontin had been both his friend and his enemy. It soothed
him when he was troubled. It didn’t yell at him or hit him when he
screwed up. But it had also distanced him from others, forcing him
to keep secrets and leaving him out of control. And it made him feel
sick when he couldn’t get it.

Yes, both his friend and his enemy. And now it would end his life.

Trapped somewhere between numbness and despair, Leo barely
registered his own sobs. As he stared at the mountain of pills in his
sweaty palm, a tear fell from his eye and splashed onto one of his
fingers. Why does my father hate me so much?

Yikes. Leo needs some help! Perhaps the warm embrace of his girlfriend Audrey?

Head over to Justine and Sarah’s blog to bid on some great prizes!

Note: To all Insecure Writers Support Group participants, I apologize for completely blanking this month. I was in Hilton Head visiting family and my doggie nephew Auggie, so I’m all confused and out of sorts this week! I’ll be back for November.